Residential values saw increase in May

Contract award values within the residential sector in May were considerably higher than last year showing the continued strength of the sector.

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According to the economic and structure and construction review, activity in the residential sector sustained its recent strength in May with the total value of contract awards £1.79 billion, based on a three month rolling average.

This is 10% higher than April and is also a 3% increase compared to April 2013 indicating the rise in activity experienced in the sector over the last 12 months.

The amount of units associated with residential contracts awarded dropped by 1.3% between April and May 2014, based on a three month rolling average, but were 19.2% higher than May 2013, confirming the upturn in the market.

Sector Performance

The latest house price indices for May from Nationwide and Halifax showed that current prices were

11.1% and 8.7% higher than last year. Price rises, which are even more severe in London, are creating fears of a house price bubble and as such calls for controls to be put in place have been made.

Other factors however suggest that the market may be calming down as the Bank of England reports that mortgage approvals fell to a nine month low in April, and RICS reported that new buyer inquiries slowed for the fifth month in a row.

It is however unclear whether or not tighter restrictions in lending set out in the Mortgage Market Review are the cause. There has already been notable shifts from two of the UK’s largest lenders in the last month with RBS and Lloyd’s both cutting back lending on loans with high loan to income multiples.

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A new company is created to oversee the UK’s largest self-build housing project.

A new company is to be created to oversee a self-build development of 1,900 homes

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The Graven Hill Village Holding Company will be responsible for providing housing at the former Ministry of Defence (MoD) site, near Bicester.

The company will be owned by Cherwell District Council and its subsidiary, the Graven Hill Village Development Company.

The council will be allowed to lawfully carry out commercial trading activity via them whilst retaining control of the site instead of selling it to a private developer.

The 187 hectare site will provides enough space for 1,900 self build homes, creating up to 2,000 new jobs and apprenticeships, a primary school, pub/restaurant and local shops.

Contracts exchanged with the MoD have allowed for the council to purchase the site which following completion, will be transferred to the development company.

Cherwell District Council leader, Barry Wood, said:

“Under the Localism Act 2011, local authorities can only carry out commercial trading activity through a company.

“As such, we had to consider numerous options including selling to a private developer, appointing a partner or forming our own company.

“After putting together an extensive business case, councillors have agreed the latter is the best option to ensure our vision is achieved.

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NFB and RIBA respond to Budget 2014

Following on from the Budget statement 2014 which took place yesterday, here is a summary of the responses from both RIBA and the National Federation of Builders.

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The National Federation of Builders (NFB) welcomed the chancellor’s continued recognition of construction and house building in the 2014 Budget statement. The £500 million Builders Finance Fund aimed at unblocking finance for small developers should help support existing government measures to boost small business finance such as the British Business Bank and help small builders to build.

The extension of Help to Buy, new measures to support self-build and the announcement that Ebbsfleet is set to be the first modern garden city are positive signs that government is supporting the construction industry and therefore the wider economy. However, the chancellor shied away from taking bolder steps to get Britain building such as including major housing projects under the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) planning regime.

Continued positive economic growth, as highlighted in the OBR forecasts, should help unlock further private investment and ensure a sustainable recovery in the construction industry but further planning reform and measures to boost retrofit were missed opportunities. The NFB hopes that all political parties will recognise the value of construction to the economy as they prepare their 2015 manifestos as it is a sector that generates £2.84 for every £1 invested.

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House Builders Association welcomes Labour’s drive for new homes

The House Builders Association (HBA) today welcomed the Labour Party’s renewed commitment to enable smaller housebuilders to access land and build new homes and create 230,000 new jobs as part of an ambitous programme to double the level of housebuilding in the UK. Shadow Housing Minister Emma Reynolds today highlighted the importance of small and medium sized house builders to a thriving industry and their role in helping to double housebuilding output.

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 James Hulme, strategic policy adviser to the HBA said:

“The Labour commitments announced today echo the HBA’s long standing recommendations calling for smaller sites requirement in Local Plans, and a proportionate number of SMEs involved in large site & public land disposals .It is a well accepted fact now that new houses need to be built on a large scale to meet the growing demand. These houses can form large communities but the smaller builders have a crucial role to play in driving output, innovation and quality. We are pleased that the Government and the Labour Party are both aware of the need for greater competition and diversity, by making provision for small sites and making the whole access to land process more transparent. Smaller companies built two thirds of new homes in 1988.  Now it is less than a third. To ensure a thriving industry we must grasp the notion that small companies are crucial to a healthy housebuilding sector, and to the preservation of local communities and flourishing local economies. We hope the Government agrees and will act sooner rather than later.”

The competitive range of structural warranties on offer from  Structural Warranty product provider Build-Zone provide cover for all areas of house building, social housing and commercial development as well as completed and self-build developments.  The Build-Zone New Home Structural Warranty is an approved Designated Warranty Provider and operates throughout the UK.

For more information visit www.build-zone.co.uk

The Next Generation Report – Homebuilders and their contribution to a sustainable future.

The Next Generation Report is an annual sustainability benchmark comprising the 25 biggest homebuilders across the UK.

The Next Generation Full Report

Download the full report here

 

Government, investors and the public alike benefit from the benchmark as is provides an improved understanding with regard to the sustainability of the homebuilders operations as well as the new homes they build.

The benchmark also performs as a forum to discuss challenges, share ideas, test concepts and gain insight from expert speakers.

The benchmark has been operated with the same criteria for the past three years, and examines more than 250 criteria with its triple bottom line approach to sustainability, the industry trends can therefore be analysed with confidence when reflecting back on 2013.

Approaching the “green ceiling”, 2013 has been the first year in which a company has scored over 90% in the benchmark.  Run by Jones Lang LaSalle and supported by the Homes and Communities Agency, the Next Generation Initiative has been scoring and monitoring house builders since 2006 with regard to the sustainability of the homes they build, their construction and policies.

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